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Texas A&M Volleyball

Morrison talks A&M volleyball's spring grind, growth of women's sports

April 10, 2024

After an NCAA Tournament appearance in year one, Jamie Morrison & Co. are attacking the offseason. The head coach joined Wednesday's edition of TexAgs Radio to discuss how his team has looked in the spring and his work coaching the USA Volleyball U19 team. 

Key notes from Jamie Morrison interview

  • When I first came in here, I talked about restoring this program and taking it back to the NCAA Tournament. I didn't know if it would happen in year one, but it happened.
  • I thought recruiting-wise, it would take a while to convince the world that this is the place people want to come to. No. 3 recruiting class in 2025 and No. 3 transfer class we just had come in. I'm really fired up with the overall trajectory, and our girls have been working their butts off this spring. 
  • I thought we were three wins better. Every head coach is along those lines. Then you look back and wish you had those matches, but then you look back and say, "Hey, it's year one. It's okay to accept this." Then I went to the SEC meetings, and everyone was like watch out for year two.
  • Everything I'm saying isn't new, so we're going to try and squeeze a little harder at the culture. We've had talks about that this spring. Our girls have worked hard, and we are 90 percent through right now.
  • They've been grinding and enjoying the time. We had a talk after practice yesterday, saying it wasn't the most enthusiastic practice, but we were focused, and we got better. We are trying to infuse that enthusiasm at the end of it because it is very similar to next year when it is November.
  • I am competitive, and I am competitive in a different sense. People are competitive in saying, "I want to win this game," but I want to prove that I am the best. I am so happy for all of the second-year successful coaches at A&M. If you look at what baseball is doing, they aren't in year two, but still.
  • Our coaching group has gotten closer over the past months. I support what is going on. When Joni Taylor won a gold medal, I would say, "I want to go win a gold medal."
  • I'm extremely excited and excited for Taylor going to go coach in the Olympics. I get chills thinking about it because I've been there and done that, and it's a really cool thing. I feel pushed to go do it in year two. I am very much a person who says success takes time and sustained success does also. I am patient in that. It shows what this university can do also. 
  • Last year, the University of Nebraska hosted a volleyball match in its football stadium, which had an attendance record of 92,436. I immediately received about 25 emails about how we do this in Kyle Field. Then Trev Alberts got hired, and I immediately received another 20 emails about it.
  • A volleyball match at Kyle Field is not going to happen next year. I'll just throw that out there. We have to build to get to that point. It's awesome to have someone who knows what our sport can be. It can be profitable. Alberts brought that up at his press conference. Nebraska is the only program in the country that is profitable. I would love to be number two.
  • Alberts knows what it's like to build a sustained fan base around what we're doing and that people do care about this. If you look at women's college basketball, women's sports are starting to grow, and volleyball is on that bandwagon, too. For me, it's exciting to have someone who knows where it can be and can help me get there. 
  • It's important for a few reasons to take our athletes overseas. I want our program to be a bridge for our athletes to play professionally. Right now, Turkey and Italy are the two best leagues in the world.
  • In the USA, there are three different professional opportunities. I want our athletes to get a taste of what that looks like and feels like so that they have an understanding that they can play beyond this if they want to.
  • That was number one. Number two, I think I am the man in terms of skills and dealing with difficulty because I have spent a lot of time overseas. I was stuck in a taxi cab trying to communicate with someone who spoke Turkish and trying to get down the street. That piece also puts them in those environments, and doing that individually and as a team is really important. 
  • There's the difficulty piece, but also the fun and storytelling that most teams don't get to do. For those who don't know, college athletics is able to go once every four years. I think it's a cool opportunity.
  • One of my superpowers is being able to train, and getting my team another 25 days is huge. The important thing is that my team gets to be together in unique and cool environments.
  • In the fall, you have the pressure of winning a match every week or two. A lot of it is geared toward how we beat Tennessee or Texas. In the spring, there is no pressure. You have a spring match, but it doesn't go on a record. No one is counting that. It is a chance to shatter each individual skill in our sport and get it back together the way it should be.
  • The spring is a time to test things out and be in a laboratory. I think our girls have done a great job of that. You get to play around with some other lineups, and I would love to get to the point where our practice gym is the most competitive environment that we have. We do give everyone a chance to get on the floor and develop.
  • U19s are daunting, and when May hits, my life pretty much ends here. USA Volleyball has done a great job with the pipeline, trying to scoop up more athletes at a younger age and funnel that into fewer athletes as they go to the national level.
  • I'm leading a thing in May. They call it the National Team Development Program Series. That will be about 50 to 60 athletes beginning in May. Then, it moves into recruiting for us and then training blocks for U19. It is always an honor and a challenge to do that. I think that is why volleyball has grown: the talent base has grown.
  • Going through lists and rosters is a cause of loss of sleep. It's an honor to do it, and it's cool to have those athletes in a gym and know I am making an impact and changing their trajectory as a volleyball player and human beings. Similar to what we are doing here: helping those athletes get into the national team gym one day. 
  • We are two to three years ahead of where I thought we would be. Every time I try to say we should have had two or three more wins, I just have to take a step back and look at the long-term vision, including where I thought it would be recruiting-wise and transfer portal-wise.
  • The number of athletes who are buying in heart and soul comes into practice every day, saying, "Mold me into what I should be and can be." Then there are the girls who have committed and believe in this university, this program, and the coaching staff, and they believe in me.
  • It's a huge honor that they aren't buying into what has been done but into what can be. I look at this next recruiting class, and we have proof that it is heading in the right direction. Before it was people believing in what we were saying, which there is no greater honor than that when people buy into what we have.
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Morrison talks A&M volleyball's spring grind, growth of women's sports

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